NEW YORK—In a bold move that has become the talk of the fashion world, morbidly depressed designer Ralph Lauren has unveiled a wrinkled dress shirt stained with marinara sauce, part of a new ready-to-wear fall line reflecting the clothing legend's deep and seemingly inescapable despondency.
"I designed this shirt because no matter how hard I try, I can never be happy," said Lauren, who spoke to reporters Saturday in a detached monotone, though he was heard quietly sobbing as the crumpled blue oxford with a large orange blotch down the front made its runway debut. "I try and try and try, but these days I can never seem to… It doesn't matter anymore. It just doesn't matter. That's what this shirt is about, I guess."
"It's particularly good for walking on the beach alone at 2 a.m. and wondering if you should just let the tide take you away forever," Lauren added. "Believe me, it's perfect for that."
Featuring a missing button, garlic and body odor infused right into the cotton weave, and a cigarette burn across the unraveling embroidery of a Polo logo, the new shirt is the signature item in Lauren's recently launched "Fuck It, Just Fuck Everything" line. Other items, such as stretch-fit khakis, mismatched socks, and well-worn penny loafers soaked in rainwater, are specifically tailored to complement the shirt.
Belts are reportedly not among the accessories included in the collection because, according to company press materials, "Does it even matter if your pants fall down at this point? Honestly, you pathetic man, how would that make things more unbearable than they already are?"
"I created these fashions to let people know I'm a terrible person who is completely worthless and doesn't deserve to be loved by anyone," said Lauren, conceding it would be impossible for any garment to fully convey how little value he has as a human being. "This is the only couture I deserve."
Lauren told reporters the marinara-stained shirt—the idea for which reportedly came to him as he sat on his couch and consumed an entire large pizza by himself—can easily be worn untucked over a pair of unwashed sweatpants from college or even just a pair of boxer shorts, as there is no reason to leave one's house other than to "experience more and worse pain."
"Ralph is going through a bit of rough patch right now," said a longtime family friend who asked not to be named. "Last season he showed us a lighthearted spring-summer line full of timeless American classics—suede boat shoes, double-breasted navy blazers. Once he has a chance to work through some things, I'm sure he'll be his old self again."
Many critics have raved over the new collection, praising the signature shirt for its pre-stained pits and flecks of paper towel suggesting a halfhearted and quickly abandoned attempt to clean up. Others, however, have echoed New York Times fashion writer Cathy Horyn, who simply said, "You're gonna get through this."
Later, as he discussed a possible women's line featuring a wrinkled silk blouse covered with the clinging brown and white hairs of a beagle that has been snuggled with all night long, Lauren trailed off midsentence, gazed into the distance, and eventually wandered away.